This late-period NES game took the goofy, kid-friendly character from the Game Boy to the TV set.
Similar to Zelda II, the sequel to Castlevania folded in a handful of RPG elements, including shops, NPCs, and a traversable world map. This partially explains why it also wasn't as successful.
With its kickin' soundtrack, the side-scrolling space shooter Gradius allowed gamers to decide how to pimp their plucky sci-fi vessel: with extra guns or with shields. There's nothing like the taste of freedom.
Nintendo cast Mario as the villain for its vexing 1982 sequel to Donkey Kong (ported to NES four years later), and he's kind of a dick. Enter the kid of Kong, wearing a one-piece romper.